Saturday, February 22, 2014

Turkey Sausage, Lentil and Rice Casserole

During my hiatus from blog-writing, I've decided to get healthier and take the power back in my life. I'll be the first to admit that over these last few years I've begun to let myself go- not just physically, but emotionally as well. I can't lay the blame for that solely on having a child, because it started before that, but it ends here. So part of my attempt to recover my former self is to join Weight Watchers again. I had some success with it in the past, and years ago it helped me lose 20 lbs. So far I'm down about 10, with about 40 more to go. Crazy thing is, I actually lost all the baby weight, and then some (thank you gallstones!) but after having my gallbladder removed I gained a lot of it back.

Joining Weight Watchers has led me to revamp some of my favorite recipes to be healthier and "program friendly". One of my all time favorite is Sausage, Lentil, and Rice Casserole, which already wasn't too terrible except for the sausage. The original recipe wasn't mine, I found multiple versions of it on the internet. I've modified it to make it healthier and it honestly tastes the same as the original (I swear, even the Husband agreed)! Plus it's super easy and relatively quick. So here it is:


1lb Hot (or Sweet) Italian Turkey Sausage, removed from casings
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 dried lentils, rinsed
1/2 brown rice, uncooked
2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 green bell pepper (or red, if you prefer), chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped


In a large pan, heat olive oil and crumble sausage into pan. If using a non-stick pan, the oil can be omitted. Cook thoroughly. While sausage is cooking, begin precooking the brown rice in 1 cup of water (about 15 minutes). After sausage is cooked through, remove from pan. Add onion and pepper to pan and saute until tender, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan as you cook. Add sausage back to pan, and add the chicken broth, the other 1 cup water, lentils and precooked rice (with its water) into the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils and rice are cooked and liquid is mostly absorbed. Makes 4 servings.

Alterations: You can also cut the sausage into chunks if you prefer. To make this casserole into a soup instead, simply add more water and/or chicken broth as needed. Enjoy!